No warning over cease in public transportation
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamians and residents who utilize public transportation were left out in the heat with little to no warning that the service had been suspended due to emergency orders yesterday.
The latest emergency order states: “No person shall offer for hire or seek to travel on any public bus transportation.”
It was released by the government shortly after 8pm on Monday.
Telon Henfield, 73, of Cowpen Road said he had been waiting on the bus stop on Blue Hill Road South for nearly 20 minutes before he was alerted that public transportation had stopped indefinitely.
Henfield, a dialysis patient, said he had not heard about the new emergency order.
He said was already late for his 1pm appointment and was waiting on a bus to go to Princess Margaret Hospital.
“It messed me up,” he said, still trying to come to terms with the news.
“I don’t have transportation and I use the bus to go to the hospital, three times a week”.
Henfield, a father of four and retired mechanic, said the move was a bad decision by the government, adding that they should have given people more notice.
Early yesterday morning, passengers were forced to disembark buses, and bus drivers ordered to cease operations as police officers enforced the latest emergency order.
Some employers told Eyewitness News that their employees were unable to make it to work and were even stranded after being told to get off the buses.
United Public Transportation Company’s President Harrison Moxey said bus drivers and the public at large were totally unaware of the order when they began their routes yesterday morning.
“I think this is greatly disturbing, to find that out,” he said.
“We have been following all of the protocols to help to prevent the spread of this virus. We’ve made the necessary investments.”
Moxey said bus drivers and owners have already spent thousands of dollars to make the vehicle’s road-worthy and implement proper mitigation protocols.
“We thought that we were doing pretty good with upholding all the rules and regulations that are set out in previous orders for us to operate,” he continued.
“We already been strapping for what’s out there and we’re totally off the road so abruptly. Businesses are greatly affected and the hardship is great enough.
“…While we are in a COVId fight, that’s not the only fight right now. There’s another fight for survival financially and as small businesses. This right now is another serious blow to people.”
Moxey said it was a very sad and distressing day for the future of the public transportation industry.
Warfield Wallace, 74, was among the group of passengers who were able to take the bus before officers began clearing them.
Wallace said she had no issues getting on the bus around 9am and getting Downtown.
It was only when she tried to take another bus to her final location in Yellow Elder that she was told by a passerby that buses had stopped running.
Wallace said she depends on the service and was completely taken aback when the public transportation stopped in the middle of the day.
One man, who asked not to be named, said he found out about the order via Facebook while he was on his commute.
He said he began hitchhiking to get from his home in the East to where he needed to go.
“I don’t know what’s going on with this country,” he said.
“Every day it’s something new to oppress the poor people. I tired.”
He described the move as “two middle fingers, not one” to the poor people in the country.
“They want to have their wedding and their funerals, you want to bury your loved ones and you can’t do it,” the disgruntled man continued.
“They catch you on the side of the road trying to make a little living and lock you up. Ain’t no job, the people looking for substance.
“…They making people want to cry and after people cry, when them tears finish, God help them”.
The man said while he would never promote violence, he feels as though the country is headed into dangerous territory as more people cry out in need.
“When your children ain’t get, you ain’t get, the landlord want put you out, you waking up with suicidal thoughts, plus you hungry, what you ga do?” he shouted.
“These people better stop…They better top they sh*t cause it’s getting serious.
“All of these people ya’ll oppressing every day, blatantly disregarding. We are humans. Take your time.
“Change things in this country for the better before it really gets worse. The people feeling revolutionary. Don’t give them a cause.”